During spring practice, head coach Tommy Tuberville stated that he wanted to find 25 players on defense that he thought could play. With the season just around the corner, it's time to speculate who those 25 players might be (for offense and defense) and how they might fit into the grand scheme of things. This is not a top 25 list and the players are not listed in any particular order other than they're the top 25 players who I think will make an impact on each side of the ball. We'll alternate between offense and defense.
#10 | Terry McDaniel | 6-7/334 | SO | LT
Rationale: Prior to his knee surgery of last year, I would have guess that McDaniel would be locking down this spot for 4 years and you'd hardly hear a word out of him. Recently, there's been talk that McDaniel is being pushed by Okafor and Carpenter. Personally, from what little I saw of McDaniel, I think he's got more talent than those two and if he's anywhere close to where he was last year, I think that he still has the potential to be dominant. The other part of me thinks that OL Coach Moore may want to light a bit of a fire under McDaniel and get him feeling some pressure of someone stepping on to what he may have thought was his position. Nothing is given, everything is earned.
#9 | Shawn Corker | 6-1/180 | FR | WR
Rationale: Corker is the most polished of the receivers that will be coming into Texas Tech. Corker's high school head coach (I think) was a former player for Texas Tech and ran a version of the spread offense. Corker knew how to go up and take ball from defensive backs in high school and now he has to translate that to the college level. I think that Corker also hurt his knee at some point during his junior year, which is why he wasn't as highly rated as others, but Corker was offered by a bunch of top-notch schools (Florida, Miami (Fl.), Notre Dame, West Virginia, etc.). If I had to guess any receiver that could play immediately, it would be Corker, but if I had to guess, I think that Corker is probably not going to see the field this year. There's a ton of depth at almost every receiver position.
8 through 6 after the jump.
#8 | Baron Batch | 5-10/204 | SR | RB
Rationale: I don't know if Batch will break 1,000 yards this year, but he should. I know that it's nice to think that Stephens, Crawford and/or Jeffers might take some carries from Batch and I'm firmly in the camp that Batch should get as many reps as the offense dictates. Last year, Batch had about 12 carries and 4.4 receptions a game last year. Knowing that Batch is one of the better playmakers on this team that will be starting, I can't convince myself to think that he should dip below those numbers and to be honest, I'd like to see Batch average 15 rushes and 6 receptions a game. That would give him, alone, 20 touches during the game and the more times he sees the ball, the better.
#7 | Tramain Swindall | 6-3/180 | JR | IR
Rationale: Swindall finished as this team's third leading receiver with 55 catches, 694 yards and 5 touchdowns. As a sophomore, those were pretty good numbers, but he should be better. I talk all of the time about consistency and just about every receiver on this team falls into this category. Swindall was held out of the first game, came back to catch 123 yards. Swindall can be highly motivated, and he can also disappear (1 catch for 3 yards vs. Nebraska; 3 catches for 12 yards against Kansas and 4 catches for 16 yards against Baylor). All of Swindall's touchdowns came within the first 5 weeks of the season. It's all about consistency and getting open for a bunch of these receivers. There's plenty of opportunity to make a name for yourself.
#6 | Detron Lewis | 6-0/205 | SR | IR
Rationale: Personally, I do like Lewis and as he's matured, he's essentially a running back playing the inside receiver spot. He's just about the same dimensions as Batch and that's the one thing that I'd like to see from Lewis, is to play to his size and out-muscle /out-man his opponents. Lewis isn't going to beat you with his speed, but he can be a big inside target and I certainly think that he's a mismatch if any linebacker tries to cover him. This was a balanced offense last year as Lewis had 65 catches, and I think he's more consistent that most of the players, aside from Torres, behind him. I'd love to see Lewis use his strength to his advantage.
Thoughts, comments, agreements and disagreements are welcome.